It’s back to school time, which means your child will be sharing more germs. While we are all busy buying school clothes and school supplies, it is also the perfect time to start getting those immune systems ready for back to school. Cold and flu season is just around the corner. So now is the time to get prepared. Don’t wait for cold and flu season to start! Here are my top 5 ways to keep their immune systems strong.
This is my #1 recommendation for strengthening the immune system. Almost all of us are deficient in zinc to some degree. This mineral is crucial for a healthy immune system, more so than both vitamin C and vitamin D. And zinc never gets any mention. So here is my shout out to zinc. It has saved both myself and my son from getting sick on numerous occasions. My favorite form to take is the highly absorbable zinc sulfate. My favorite brand is Liquid Ionic Zinc by Good State, however any brand is okay as long as it doesn’t contain preservatives or additives, which many do.
2. Vitamin D3
Our bodies make this important vitamin when we expose our skin to the sun. More and more research keeps coming out showing how important Vitamin D is for our immune system, and many of us are deficient. I have been surprised by how many people are deficient in Vitamin D, even when living in a sunny climate. We are spending more time indoors, particularly those that live in very cold or very hot climates. We are also slathering ourselves in sunscreen or covering up when we go outside. The best way to get FREE Vitamin D is to expose at least 50% of our skin to the sun for 20-30 minutes a day. To avoid getting sunburned, try to go out early in the morning or later in the evening. Though getting our Vitamin D from the sun is ideal, it is not always easy to do. This is why supplementing with Vitamin D3 is important. I like to use Vitamin D3 liquid by Pure Encapsulations, though any “clean” liquid Vitamin D3 is fine.
3. Skip the Dairy
This can be a tough one for a lot of families, particularly when you have a picky child that seems to survive off of mostly milk, cheese, and air. Delicious as it may be, this mucus producing food can make your children more prone to catching colds, flus, and ear infections. All that mucus is a perfect breeding ground for viruses and bacteria. Marketed as a health food and a good source of calcium, this particular food is quite problematic for most people. Even raw, grass fed, organic dairy causes excess mucus. And yes butter and ghee count as dairy! Dairy is most certainly not the only source of calcium in the world and is not even a necessary food. Fruits, vegetables, nuts, and seeds are actually good sources of calcium. And the calcium in plant foods is actually way more absorbable than dairy. So skip the dairy, and watch your kids’ health change for the better.
We all know that getting adequate sleep is important for our health. But it is especially important for the immune system. Studies show that missing out on sleep can decrease immune system function. School aged children need 9-11 hours of sleep. Older children and teens need 8-10 hours. Stick to a sleep routine in younger children, try not to overbook your child with too many activities, and let them sleep on the weekends.
5. Vitamin C
This essential nutrient is well known for keeping the immune system strong. This one can be tough to get into kids that cannot swallow pills in a supplement form. Many of the liquid and powdered Vitamin C supplements have additives or natural flavorings (code for MSG), which is less than ideal. For younger children, make sure they are getting plenty of fruit, the best source of Vitamin C. And don’t worry about them getting too much sugar. Fruit sugar is a healthy and necessary type of sugar. And contrary to popular belief, fruit sugar does not feed bacteria and viruses. It’s actually the opposite. If you want to give supplemental Vitamin C, you can try Rose Hip Solid Extract by Wise Woman Herbals. Rosehips are very high in Vitamin C. Don’t let the name fool you-solid extracts are actually more like a syrup. If your child can swallow pills, Ester-C by Pure Encapsulations is a good quality Vitamin C.
Prevention is the best strategy for avoiding colds and flus. And the earlier you get started, the better. So there is no time like the present!